Joshua first reported on Lawrence Summers’ words here.
I’d read about the hysterical shrieking that ensued from Summers’ controversial speech, but had written it off as the typical ultra-feminist codswallop passing itself as “Women’s Studies” in academia:
Nancy Hopkins, a biologist at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, walked out on Summers’ talk, saying later that if she hadn’t left, ”I would’ve either blacked out or thrown up.”
Which is pretty amazing, when you think about it. Can we record Summers’ words and use them to break up riots by inducing unconsciousness and/or vomiting? Anyway, Arnold Kling explains why Summers wasn’t necessarily wrong, and that we should listen to him. It’s admittedly anecdotal, but interesting nonetheless:
My sense is that women find male-dominance behavior annoying. They particularly dislike being treated as “irrelevants” during meetings. I can understand their point of view. I avoid the American Economic Association meetings, in part because I am sickened by the flattery and the Show Off/Put Down. Above all, being treated as an “irrelevant” rather than as a fellow human being by people you once thought of as friends and colleagues is a highly discouraging experience.
So to Lawrence Summers’ list of possible reasons that women are under-represented in some fields, let me add annoying male-dominance behavior. To the extent that one must put up with or join in such behavior to succeed in largely-male fields, I could see where otherwise qualified women might not have the taste for it.
There’s more to the issue than meets the eye. Whatever your outlook on Summers’ speech, fainting and puking seems to be the least reasonable reaction to it.
(Thanks to Instapundit for the pointer.)